Gerrit Cole made his first intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday and looked every bit the part of the New York Yankees' ace.
It may not have been $324 million-level greatness, but for a tune-up after a lengthy layoff, it was pretty impressive.
He needed just 67 pitches—43 of them strikes—to work five innings, tallying six strikeouts against only two walks. The only hit he allowed was a first-pitch home run by the second batter he faced, Miguel Andujar.
"I thought it was good. It was nice to get through five," Cole told reporters. "We were efficient. Bounced back from a couple walks well, and overall the location was pretty good."
Last season, Cole was the runner-up for AL Cy Young while going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts against 48 walks across 212.1 innings. After his Houston Astros fell short against the Washington Nationals in the World Series, he signed his nine-year pact with the Bronx Bombers in December.
The Yankees are obviously expecting major things from their cannonball-splash signing, and if Tuesday's outing was any indication, he could hit the ground sprinting when the regular season opens.
Sonny Gray Named Opening Day Starter in Cincinnati
Before the Yankees plugged Cole atop their rotation, they hoped Sonny Gray would play a major part in it.
The third-place finisher in 2015 AL Cy Young voting, Gray joined the Yankees in a 2017 trade deadline deal with the Oakland A's, but he never enjoyed the same success in New York and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in Jan. 2019.
Just like that, he's back to being his razor-sharp self. He pitched to a minuscule 2.87 ERA across 175.1 innings last season and recording a career-best 205 strikeouts.
It was enough to land Gray seventh in NL Cy Young voting, and he's since been plugged in as Cincinnati's Opening Day starter.
"There's no denying the fact that Sonny has stepped up," Reds manager David Bell told reporters. "He's a leader. He sets a great example. We couldn't ask for a better option to set the tone for the season and for our rotation."
This will be third Opening Day start for Gray, who opened Oakland's seasons in 2014 and 2015.
Mitch Haniger's 2020 Season in Jeopardy
Mitch Haniger ranked among MLB's top breakout stars in 2018, but he has struggled to even have the chance of recreating that success ever since.
That season, he secured his first All-Star trip by clubbing 26 homers, tallying 93 RBI, scoring 90 runs and posting a .285/.366/.493 slash line. His battling line fell precipitously over 63 games to start the 2019 campaign, but his power numbers held strong (15 homers, 46 runs, 32 RBI). Then, his season was abruptly ended when he fouled a pitch off himself, rupturing a testicle, which needed surgery.
His back flared up after that, and he had two surgeries within a three-week span before the Mariners opened camp. He was already listed on Seattle's 45-day injured list and was left out of the team's 60-man player pool.
"Right now we feel like, for obvious reasons, those spots are gold," Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters. "And, if our understanding is with Mitch that, minimally, he's not going to play for an extended period, and there's a very good chance that he doesn't play at all in 2020, we want to use that spot on a player who is either, A, developing or B, has the opportunity to help us here in Seattle if a need arises."
Since Seattle should be nowhere near the championship chase, the franchise will likely be as cautious as possible with its star player.